Rep. Lynn Woolsey Hangs Up Hat After Two Decades, Hands Baton to Huffman

Woolsey is to be replaced by Jared Huffman, who represented Marin County as state Assemblyman before winning a seat in Congress in the Nov. 6 election.


After two decades representing Marin and Sonoma counties in the U.S. House of Representatives, Petaluma resident Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey is hanging up her hat amidst the tense talks over the so-called 'fiscal cliff.'

The owner of an employment agency and a college professor, Woolsey got her political start as a Petaluma Councilwoman from 1984 to 1992. Then Congresswoman Barbara Boxer announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate, creating an opening for Woolsey, who won with 65 percent of the vote.

In her time in the House of Representatives, Woolsey tackled issues close to her heart, including childhood nutrition, poverty and the environment. Through her efforts, a national free breakfast program for school children was created and the Family Medical Leave Act amended, helping those caring for injured military family members get time off from their jobs. 

Last year, Skaggs Island was transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which Woolsey helped accomplish via an amendment she authored.

But the congresswoman’s biggest achievement may be her most recent one: expanding the Cordell Bank and Gulf of Farallones national marine sanctuaries, a biologically rich area stretching from Bodega Bay to Point Arena. The diversity of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and other life will now be protected, and ecotourism and sustainable fishing practices promoted.

Soon after the U.S. invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, Woolsey and fellow Congresswoman Barbara Lee formed the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, urging for troops to be withdrawn from the region. 

“Our leadership helped hasten the end of a major combat operation in Iraq,” Woolsey last year at an event at her B Street home, where she announced her retirement.

Asked about how she’d spent her time after retirement, Woolsey said that she was looking forward to spending time with her family, which includes four children and five grandchildren.

She also plans on focusing more of her energy on Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal political organization whose goal is to promote progressive policies and of which Woolsey is president.

And the congresswoman doesn’t plan on getting involved in Petaluma politics again, but always follows what was going on.

“Whatever I do, I will be doing useful things,” she said.

Replacing Woolsey is San Rafael's Jared Huffman, who beat Republican candidate Daniel Roberts by garnering more than 70 percent of the votes in November's election. He will assume control of California's 2nd congressional district which covers the North Coast from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border.

From 2006 to 2012, Huffman was the Assemblymember for California's 6th State Assembly district. Huffman chaired the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee and also chaired the Assembly Environmental Caucus.

Huffman contacted Patch from his new offices in Washington DC over the weekend. "I understand I'm stepping into some big shoes," he said, adding that he admired Woolsey's "heart and passion."

"She's been an incredible friend to me," Huffman said of Woolsey. He said that he respected the fact that being in Congress for 20 years hadn't changed her.

As for Huffman, he said his constituents can expect similar policies as Woolsey's but he'd bring his own style to the job.

"I can't wait to get to work," he said.

What do you think of Lynn Woolsey's track record? 

How will Jared Huffman fare in replacing Woolsey?

Tim D January 01, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Good riddance, finally!!!!! Hard to imagine a more ineffective, feckless representative ("legislator" doesn't apply given her woeful record). Woolsey became a laughing stock in D.C. and mirrors a naive voting constituency of 'takers' (not 'makers') who, sadly, now epitomize the degradation of American society and our economy.
John Brown January 01, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Woosley has demonstrated that she's worse-than-useless time and time again. Who in their right mind would vote to keep her in Congress for TWO DECADES? She's been on the public teat most of her life and will continue to receive a pension the rest of her life. I don't believe she's ever held a "real" job in her life......does that remind you of someone else....say with the initials BO?
John Brown January 01, 2013 at 01:36 PM
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kevin Moore January 02, 2013 at 04:28 PM
The problem with an extremist is even if they have something worthy to say, it gets lost in their dogma. Woolsey was proud to be the benchmark for the far left. While it might make her feel good morally, it did not represent us well. Looking at a list of accomplishments published in the Marin IJ, I do agree with them. I disagree with presentation and inflexible stance. The wars were a prime example. Both WARS went incredibly well and were over quickly. It is the "nation building" and peace keeping that has dragged on for over a decade. If we had never invaded Iraq, as Woolsey wanted, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. Perhaps we should have looked for WMD's, which the UN could never verify, left the pre-invasion government intact, and withdrawn. Same as if we never invaded. We could end the decade long "No Fly Zone" too, which has been active since the first Gulf War. If Woolsey had said that we don't have a good exit strategy and this war will drag on as a way to fund the weapons manufactures and military contractors, she might have had more listeners. Saying you are for peace after 9-11 wasn't going to get much support. I would like to see everyone come home now.
David Randolph January 04, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Remember when Woolsey was asked at one of her very infrequent town hall meetings how she could justify her high salary? She stated it was because she needed two wardrobes. Really. That's what she said. You can find it on YouTube. So now that she doesn't need "two wardrobes," will she give up part of that lifetime salary to lower the deficit she helped create?


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